Mark Reece

I’m afraid I won’t be regaling you all with any happy childhood memories of receiving sought after Nintendo consoles and games for Christmas, and that’s because I don’t have any. Now, I’m not implying in the slightest that I was a deprived child — far from it, in fact — but as neither of my parents gave two hoots about videogames in any way, shape or form, myself and my brother didn’t spend much time playing games over Christmas, even less so with other family members.

Also, due to me being a colossal SEGA fanboy ever since I was old enough to hold a Master System controller, we had very few Nintendo consoles in our house up until the turn of the millennium, at which point I really got into Nintendo in a big way. The N64, GameCube, Game Boy Advance and (most of all) Pokémon were my favourite ways to avoid spending time outdoors or doing my homework.

No, my fondest Nintendo-related Christmas memories stem not from my childhood, but only from the last few years. You see, the problem with my parents and games was that they could never fully grasp them, the finer points of thwarting Bowser’s latest maniacal kidnapping scheme or racking up the most kills in Goldeneye 007 eluding them altogether. But that all changed when my mother and stepfather first experienced Wii Sports. All of a sudden, games no longer consisted of precision jumping or inhuman headshot skills, but rather emulated real life activities that were easy for my non-gaming parents to comprehend and join my brother, my wife and I in playing.

Golf, tennis and bowling became firm favourites at my mum’s house not just at Christmas, but at all family get-togethers. A few years down the line, Wii Sports Resort became a sure fire way to get all family members together. Christmas in our house used to consist pretty much of lunch, followed by everyone scattering and doing their own thing. Now? Once we’ve spent a few hours in a sluggish stupor as we digest the copious amounts of turkey and pigs in blankets we’ve consumed, the Wii comes out and we all wile away the hours on Wii Sports Resort, Mario Kart Wii and Wii Party.

Last month, during Nintendo Life’s round table discussion of the GameCube and Wii — celebrating their tenth and fifth anniversaries respectively — I touched upon what I believe will be the Wii’s legacy long after it’s been replaced by the WiiU: it’s truly phenomenal and almost entirely effortless ability to bring family members of all ages together, engaging in activities they can all enjoy. I will forever firmly hold onto that belief, and for proof you need only look through the living room window of my mum’s house on Christmas day (although we may very well call the police; don’t say we didn’t give you fair warning), and soak in the atmosphere as my brother and I lock horns in a fierce battle on the links, or my mum pulls a surprise win out of the bag at the bowling alley. These are the fondest memories of playing Nintendo games at Christmas, and I look forward to being able to add to them every year.